ArduCopter 3.0.1 has been released and is now available in the Mission Planner,, GitHub and the new Downloads Area.

Warning #1: Compass calibration and reducing interference is far more important than with 2.9.1b

Warning #2: GPS glitches can cause sudden and aggressive position changes while in loiter mode.  You may wish to reduce the Loiter PID P to 0.5 (from 1.0) to reduce aggressiveness (see image below of where this gain can be found in mission planner).

Warning #3: optical flow is not supported but will be back in the next release (AC-3.0.2 or AC-3.1.0).

Warning #4: loiter turns does not maintain altitude.  This bug will be fixed in AC-3.0.2.

Warning #5: This release has only been lightly tested on Traditional Helicopters.

Improvements over 2.9.1b include:

  • Inertial Navigation for Loiter and Auto meaning much more accurate control (Randy,Leonard,JonathanC)
  • 3D navigation controller follows straight lines in all dimensions between waypoints (Leonard,Randy)

         WPNAV_SPEED, WPNAV_SPEED_UP, WPNAV_SPEED_DN, WPNAV_ACCEL allows configuring speeds and acceleration during missions

  • "compassmot" to compensate for interference on compass from the pdb, motors, ESCs and battery.  (Randy,JonathanC) (Set-up video here)
  • Safety improvements:
    • simple Tin Can shaped Geo Fence
    • pre-arm checks to ensure all calibration has been performed before arming (can be disabled by setting ARMING_CHECK to zero).  (video description here)
    • GPS failsafe - switches to LAND if GPS is lost for 5 seconds
    • stability patch improvements to stop rapid climbs in very overpowered or overtuned copters
  • Circle mode improvements including "panorama" when CIRCLE_RADIUS set to zero (Randy,Leonard)
  • SONAR_GAIN parameter added to allow better tuning of sonar surface tracking
  • CH8 auxiliary switch (same features as CH7)
  • works on PX4 (some minor features still not available) (Tridge,PatH)

How to upgrade:

1. Make sure you are using Mission Planner 1.2.59 or newer (get it here)

2. Click on the MissionPlanner's Hardware, Install Firmware screen.  The version numbers should appear as "ArduCopter-3.0.1", then click the appropriate frame icon and it should upgrade as per usual.

3. Reduce the Loiter and Alt Hold PIDs if you have modified them from the defaults.  The modified PID values for the 3DR frame can be seen in the image below.

Note: Nav parameters have been combined with Loiter so do not be concerned if you can't find them.

4. Although not directly related to this release, if you purchased an APM prior to March of 2013, update your PPM encoder to the latest firmware (instructions here).

5. Try out the new version in stabilize mode first, then alt-hold, then loiter and finally RTL and Auto.

Numerous How-To videos are available:

Special Thanks to MarcoDaveC and the large number of testers on the pre-release thread who put their copters at risk during the extended testing period.  Some of their videos can be found hereherehereherehere and here.  Thanks also to MichaelO for the MP changes required for this release.

All feedback welcome.  Please put your questions, comments (good and bad!) below.

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Randy what are the pros and cons to increasing the SPI bus speed from 500khz to 8Mhz? Also which sensors have SPI drivers by default on APM2 versus I2C? Finally can you share some thinking behind this change. If memory serves I think most microcontrolers can handle SPI speeds up to 10Mhz. Would really like to understand this area of SPI communication in the APM more.

Sorry it was actually in 3.1-rc2 that it was still working.  I never got around to trying rc3 but I tried them both now and both rc3 and rc4 wont compile, so somewhere between rc2 and rc3 something has changed which is affecting it...  Any ideas perhaps?

These instructions are very clear Leonard. I probably missed somewhere in the thread. What is the main purpose of Autotune? Will Autotune adjust the PID parameters better than we manually do it? 

Will the code improvements in RC4 mean it should be safe to try this on an Octa?

The idea of autotune is to adjust your roll and pitch pids to be as sharp as possible. The rate pid's can then be left the way they are and the Stab P term reduced to what ever feels nice.

Yeh, Octa's shouldn't have any problems after the performance improvements Tridge and Randy made. We are down to something like 85% processor usage during loiter now!

Gosh squeezing the last couple of electrons out of that board now ;-)

Chris: Interesting question. Regarding a large weight differential eg camera and gimbal versus no payload I would say yes to repeating autotune . But looking another way perhaps an equivalent weight on the copter might be prudent for first auto tune tests if your using and expensive camera :-) Also I wonder if someone can answer whether the APM gimbal control should be disabled during autotune?

Is there a link were we can find the release notes without going back trough the many pages on this topic to find al release notes from previous rc versions?

(Just like the mission plannner release notes document)

If you're running the autotune with your camera mounted on your multicopter you want the gimbal control active due to the fact that the center of gravity would otherwise be different from a real flight.
A developer could might tell us if a octo with the gimbal active might get utilized to 100% during this procedure. But looking at the autotune.pde there's not any intense calculations, rather repeated timing measurements from pitch/roll movements.


Can you measure the motor locations and also measure as accurately as possible where your cg is. Also, how did you choose the location of your cg?

Thanks mate.

So in this case, this is not an "Optional" feature. It should be used...

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